Great art almost feels like magic—it opens our minds to brand new ideas, and teaches us to see ourselves and our world more clearly. Of course, behind all great art, there are artists. And that’s where the real magic happens…
As we go beneath the art itself to explore how different artists do what they do, we see glimpses of the sorts of creativity, resilience, and bravery that lead to the art that moves our world. And maybe we can learn to borrow some of that magic for our very own thinking.
Join professional musician Emily Merrell for conversations with artists of all kinds. Together, we examine the mysteries of our own experiences, our muses and fears, our gifts and foibles, our beliefs about the origins of creativity, and the secret magic we’ve discovered in our unique creative processes.
Mediums include: studio art, graphic design, dance, cooking, illustration, creative writing, storytelling, comedy, music composition, music performance, film making, acting, production, fashion design, photography, and more.
Visit https://emilymerrellmusic.com/artifice-podcast/ for more information.
- Theme Song "As You Are" by Emily Merrell @emilymerrellmusic
- Illustration and Graphic Design by Sarah Keele @sarahkeeleart
- Photography by Jen Palmer @jenpalmerphoto
- HMU by Shawna Turner @shawnaturnerdesigns
Ep. 118: Matt Danielson
When you close your eyes and picture a blacksmith, you're probably already seeing Matt. He's a bear of a blacksmith who makes our biggest anvil look small.
Matt's a sharer. He takes the forge on the road for demonstrations at festivals, conferences, even corporate events. He usually has a handful of apprentices.
Matt apprenticed at a traditional blacksmith shop at This Is The Place Heritage Park when he was 17 years old, and he's been heavily involved in the steel industry ever since. He has been teaching classes at the University of Utah Continuing Education program for several years.
As a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Matt can often be seen towering over people on the battle field, wearing 80 pounds of armor and swinging a two-handed great sword. Matt is the master of the local SCA blacksmiths guild and quite a few re-enactors get their first experience with medieval blacksmithing from Matt.
Matt is happily married to his high school sweetheart and is the proud father of 4 children.
Ep. 117: Savannah Nicholes
Savannah "Sailor Crafty" Nicholes
Savannah has always embraced her eccentric side in hopes that other eccentrics would have someone to feel comfortable around. A daydreamer, INFJ and "serial hobbyist", she is constantly switching mediums to help her bring intangible dreams into tangible reality.
Known as the Dinosaur Girl in elementary school, she could be found writing poetry, reading fantasy books, doodling dragons in her notes, collecting figures and pretending with her friends in the front yard. She learned to play music on an old trombone that her father had in a bumper sticker-encrusted case and still plays in the local city band. She also discovered that she loved Japanese animation and culture and that has been a large influence in her artistic endeavors. In college she was introduced by a friend to cosplay and conventions. Cosplay is one of her favorite forms of expression as it can touch on every medium, including acting, sewing, 3D printing, sculpting, electronics, painting, puppetry and everything in between. She has won several awards at local conventions and always has something new to debut to keep it fresh!
Savannah is a married, enthusiastic mom that feels she is just as much a kid as her two young boys. When they are both in school full time in the upcoming year, she plans on launching a clothing brand, Banoonios Studios, and Vanna V., an accessories brand where she can share some of her colorful visions with the world. Both brands are based on nicknames given to her by her pro musician, thrill-seeking father and go-getter, animal-loving mother. Savannah loves encouraging artists of all types and feels that an artist should always make art for themselves first and foremost.
Ep. 116: Andrew Maxfield
The compositions of ANDREW MAXFIELD—hailed as “rhythmically vital … superbly judged … [and] tender” by Fanfare Magazine—have been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. A recent winner of the King’s Singer’s New Music Prize (Jury Special Commendation), Andrew has been a Composer Fellow of the National Collegiate Choral Organization and Composer-in-Residence for Southern Virginia University and Newburyport Choral Society. Recent commissions include choral works for the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, Hillsdale College, and Salem Hills High School; an orchestral adaptation of the Caldecott honor book, They All Saw A Cat, for the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts in New York City; and a concert-length score for SALT Contemporary Dance, showcased at Lincoln Center. His album, Celebrating Wendell Berry in Music, was released by Tantara Records and his “well-crafted, approachable” works (Dr. George Case, The Boston Cecilia) are published by Walton, Santa Barbara, and Yalecrest. Ensembles which have performed Andrew’s music recently include The Gesualdo Six, USC Thornton Chamber Singers, Emporia Symphony Orchestra, Carroll University Symphonic Band and Choir, Wingate University Singers, Utah Philharmonic, The Piedmont Singers, University of Pennsylvania Chamber Choir, and Choral Arts Initiative.
Andrew studied music at Brigham Young University, where he was valedictorian and where he occasionally teaches. He has pursued advanced studies in counterpoint and harmony at the EAMA–Nadia Boulanger Institute in Paris, France, graduate composition studies at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, and doctoral studies at the University of Bristol (UK). His primary teachers include Philip Lasser (Juilliard), John Pickard, Jonathan Bailey Holland, and Marti Epstein, and he has also studied with Aaron Jay Kernis and Steven Sametz through the ACDA Choral Composers Forum. He also holds an MBA in Arts Administration from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Andrew lives with his wife Liz Davis Maxfield—a cellist, expert in Irish traditional music, and rock climber—and their two handsome, high-octane boys (plus a hyper puppy) just downhill from Sundance in Provo, Utah.
Ep. 115: Jake Thompson
As a child, Jake knew he was destined to become big. He was unaware of the path he was going to take until his Mom suggested hairdressing. Once he enrolled in hair school, he knew it was a perfect fit. Throughout his career, his passion for educating others has flourished. This passion took him everywhere – from classrooms to international hair shows to working with companies like Redken, Sexy Hair Concepts, Scruples, Milbon, and Revlon Style Masters.
Besides educating and working behind the chair, Jake creates artistic hair collections that have been published in multiple magazines including Behind the Chair Magazine, Modern Salon, American Salon, Estetica, Hot by Hair’s How, RE Magazine, Salon Magazine, and Beauty Underground. These collections have also earned him multiple nominations and awards, such as 2018 North American Hairstylist of the Year Nominee & 2016 NAHA Colorist Nominee, NAHA Avant Garde Winner in 2011 and 2014, and NAHA Avant Garde Nominee in 2006, 2012, 2013, and NAHA Fashion Forward Nominee in 2011 & 2013 AIPP Presse Coiffure Nominee & 2015 Best Commercial Hairstyling.
Jake travels the world inspiring and educating students and audiences in the fashion and hair industry. In addition, Jake has learned the art of photography and now shoots and edits not only his own collections but other artists’ as well. He was co-owner at Lunatic Fringe Salon in Sugarhouse, Utah, which was his home from 2003-2018. Currently he resides at the South Temple Lunatic Fringe location.
Ep. 114: Sheriden Hansen
Sheriden Hansen is an Assistant Professor of Horticulture for Utah State University Extension. She is located at the 100-acre USU Botanical Center in Kaysville, Utah where she tends to several gardens, runs the Davis County Master Gardener Program, and teaches many public classes. Sheriden’s interests lie in vegetable and fruit production, urban small-scale farming and cut flower production. Sheriden has been a recurring guest on KSL Studio 5 and the KSL Greenhouse Show where she shares information and knowledge about horticulture. Working as a horticulturist is Sheriden’s second career; she worked as an O.R. nurse for 15 years at the University of Utah Orthopaedic Center alongside some of the world’s best surgeons and nurses. She decided to follow her true passion and pursue a career in horticulture in 2009, when she started a small-scale farm in East Layton, Utah. Sheriden has been immersed in farming and horticulture ever since. In addition to her BS in nursing from the University of Utah (2002), she has a BS in Plant Science (Summa Cum Laude, 2015) and a MS in Plant Science (2017) from Utah State University. When not gardening, Sheriden can be found playing with her dogs Pippa and Otis, exploring mountains, running, biking, and skiing with her husband Wayne and two teenage boys.
Ep. 113: Jeff McLean
Jeff McLean played Warner Huntington III in the 2008 national tour cast of Legally Blonde: the Musical. He was in Spamalot in Las Vegas before joining the Legally Blonde family. Jeff also toured around the world as a solo artist, and has performed since he was a child. His famous father, Michael McLean, included Jeff in countless productions, which gave him unmatched training and earned confidence.
"After performing all over the world and receiving the best training possible, I have become passionate about helping my students discover their voice and all its components. This discovery process gives my students permission to fall in love with the sound of their own voice. The journey of connecting with your emotions, understanding them, and allowing them to express vocally will be your key to creating the most beautiful and honest musicality.
Training and performing all over the world for the past 2 decades has been a shaping experience. I have gained keen awareness about what kind of training is the most beneficial to defining my students' vocal artistry and technique. I can help anyone who is willing, to fall in love with their own voice. As we unwrap it’s beauty, my students develop the confidence that is crucial to understanding and utilizing the components of their voice. This discovery process will allow exquisite and honest musicality to flourish."
Emily has such a beautiful heart
Emily is a fantastic person and I am so grateful to be able to share in her conversations with other creative minds! Sergio Pamies episode 💫💫💫💫
Through illuminating conversations with a wide array of creative artists, Emily does an excellent job of getting at the heart of what it means to make one's living as an artist. She explores the struggles and contradictions of the creative life but also the "big magic" (to use Elizabeth Gilbert's phrase) that makes it all worth it. Thank you, Emily!
Loved this episode- real, raw insight into the struggle/fine line between selling vs selling out, whatever brand of art - or ART - you may practice.